Category: News

Innovation lunch by The Bridge Tank in Davos

The Bridge Tank organized on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos an international workshop on the theme: “Accelerating the smart city – financing solutions and project governance for emerging markets. “

The bridge tank organised an industry conversation on « accelerating the smart city – financing solutions & project governance for emerging markets », convened by Joel Ruet & our Board Member Pranjal Sharma. The event was the opportunity to exchange on how to Kick-start the Smart cities: How to go from ideas to projects, from projects to returns, from returns to smart cities that work. How can entrepreneurs, companies, investors gear into initiatives that are left free to succeed by the city authorities, for smart cities to no longer mean blueprints but develop and operate as a true industry?

 

Our starting point was that « smart cities » have been on the air for long ; had they picked the magnitude we talked them about, we’d see them everywhere by now. We discussed the evolving funding criteria for smart cities; their ever evolving challenges and meeting them for smart cities funding. 

First of all, contributors reminded the definition issue, ranging from mere energy, food or water conservation to smart and widespread use of data, through new cities, real estate with an ecosystem community including schools for talents, etc. 

The second issue was on governance: how to decide, how to fund them? Which strategies between new cities and modifying existing ones? And how not to forget the smart villages? The Indian rural experience was discussed, on strategies to move from thermal diesel to solar, generalise wifis and digital bank accounts, digital crop data management for fertilizers. 

Some participants from emerging countries were on the position that smartness should be tested in villages and then extended to smart cities; the example of Punjab was mentioned, which started from the district level, then with 3 smart cities in Punjab. IFC’s experience in digitalisation in “Invest in Africa” program was also mentioned as a successful pilot. However, cheap internet through mobile systems isn’t per se making a smart city. The issue of space was mentioned: smartness is not just about digitalization but requires space: in already congested cities this raises serious concerns. 

The issue of public governance and private profitability were mentioned, but we dedicated a large space of our conversation to the issue of enabling citizens: as they become smart, so does the city they live in. “Innovation clusters”, with the Ukrainian example this time, were mentioned in such a spirit of rather looking at what brings people together, not necessarily having to involve the government. 

Last, economic practice were mentioned: not just about introducing technology but also co-living, sharing economy, etc., and, at the end, a more segmented approach for circular economy, between premium / mass segments.

The Bridge Tank’s 2020 Davos – Highlights

As each year, Davos is too hectic to come into a post. Here are, beyond our own organized “Innovation Lunch”, some highlights.

We started with a TV interview on this year’s theme on sustainable environment at the 50th World Economic Forum – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwk5r9PJcPE . The Davos forum of course lags behind on the environment but, despite “We will not save the planet only with companies, but we will not save the planet without companies”.

As last year, The Bridge Tank participated in the 4th Davos Forum on the Silk Roads, / Belt and Road Initiative. A discussion on how to move “from the old globalization that benefits some, to a new globalization focused on the belt and the road that benefits everyone and is of high quality”. Who said Davos is not political ?

On more economic found, the idea was to debate “More international public goods (open to all) than private goods (for shareholders)”.

Last but not least glimpse of this year, we enjoyed the Davos “Open” Forum through an amazing keynote speaker and player: Yo Yo MA.

The Bridge Tank participated in the G20 / Think20 kick-off meeting in Riyadh

At this meeting we presented our ideas and plans for a policy brief to G20 leaders on increasing the financial envelope of the Green Climate Fund. The Brief will be directed by The Bridge Tank and involves contributors from Tunisia, China, India, Indonesia, Germany, Italy and France.

Over the past 5 years, we have contributed to the Task Force on “Climate change and finance” of the T20, and seen the exercise progress and deepen. When G20 leaders decide to unite, solutions are ready through engagement groups like the T20.

We received a warm welcome from the Saudi Arabian G20 presidency and the global T20 teams.

In the Plenary, HRH Prince Turki al Faycal bin Saud, long time head of Saudi intelligence, gave a keynote to Think20/G20 experts, encouraging us for innovative funding solutions, in line with our policy proposals on Green Climate Fund: fast direct access to southern countries, funds and NGOs.

Unlocking Finance: The Key Factor for Investment on Green Projects in Africa

A significant change in how investors approach green projects is underway. The fight against climate change requires and will require increases in the amount of capital being devoted to green projects. This underlines the importance of mobilizing financial actors from the private sector. Their awareness of this need and on the opportunities these investment give into re-defining the business, is already, for some of them, becoming a reality.

We now have the opportunity to move towards a “decarbonization“ of investment portfolios. For investment to match climate change mitigation goals, we will need concrete moves towards decarbonizing portfolios. The good news is that certain tools exist that can help make green projects more attractive to investors. This policy brief argues for renewed emphasis and action on these points to significantly boost investment. In other words, Africa is open for business.

Read More …

T20/G20 Policy Brief : Innovative Green-Technology SMEs as an Opportunity to Promote Financial De-Risking

By Joël Ruet(The Bridge Tank and CNRS-CEPN), Elena Verdolini(FEEM and CMCC), Céline Bak(CIGI and Analytica Advisors),  Anbumozhi Venkatachalam(ERIA)

“We recommend that the G20 target innovative green-technology SMEs as an opportunity to promote financial de-risking while addressing Paris Agreement commitments and UN Sustainable Development Goals. This should be achieved by creating signals for private investors through: (1) a reporting system that can help monitor the scale-up of green-technology SMEs; (2) the use of public funds to signal innovative green-technology SMEs to investors; and (3) the inclusion of SMEs in the design of green finance platforms. By implementing these recommendations, the G20 will ensure that innovative, low- carbon SMEs become attractive, low(er)-risk investment opportunities for the private sector.” Read more …

Research Paper: One Belt One Road and the Reconfiguration of EU-China Relations

At the 2017 Davos Economic Forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized the merits of globalization and called for more effective measures and structural reforms to establish equitable governance and build new growth models. The “One Belt One Road” (OBOR) initiative has been accelerated with the Chinese presidency of the G20 in 2016 and advocates more inclusive regional cooperation and offers ambitious plans to further tighten connections across the Eurasian and North African continents.

This paper highlights the reconfiguration of EU- China relations and explains the evolution of the trading flows between the two actors under the “One Belt One Road” initiative.

Click here to Download the research paper.

France Might Miss The Great African Transformation

No French diplomat was present at the launching of the African Union “2016 Transition Report” in New York on September 21st. Is it because it is an internal matter of the African Union, or is it symptomatic of a French disregard for the  transformation of the continent ? In either case, it appears that it is one of the many signs that France stands idle by as Africa undergoes many changes. Read Joel Ruet’s analysis on this matter in this OpEd published in Jeune Afrique

The Bridge Tank, a T20 member, participated in the G20 Summit in Hamburg

The Think20 (T20) is a network of research institutes and think tanks from the G20 countries. Its role is to provide policy recommendations to the G20. It also facilitates interaction between members and shares global issues through its blog.

The Bridge Tank, member of the T20, participated in the G20 Summit in Hamburg the 7th and the 8th of July and provided research-based policy briefs for the G20 Insights platforms that aims to support G20 policy making. The Bridge Tank has joined other expert think tanks in writing two policy briefs with the Climate Policy and Finance task force. One of those policy briefs got selected among the 20 best policy briefs that were presented during the G20 Summit. It analyses the role of innovative green-technology SMEs as an opportunity to promote financial de-risking.

To read those two policy briefs : http://thebridgetank.org/en/influence-we-shape/briefings-studies/

Our take on the Low Emission Solutions Conference – COP 22

Download the full report here.

This report details the discussions and conclusions at the LESC conference from November 14th to 16th as part of the COP22 in Marrakesh. The report is meant to be a collection of data, quotes, and viewpoints put forth by the speakers and panelists over this three-day period. In addition, we have added our own analysis and evaluation throughout the document, which is meant to help connect the different ideas presented. The LESC conference was intended as a workshop over solutions to reach the objectives of the Paris Agreement. It was thus action-oriented, with panel discussions intermixed with presentations on different innovations potentially critical in reaching said goals. As this was the COP of “action”, this was an appropriate format, and should provide policymakers with plenty of options in planning their own pathways to drastically lower emissions.

Continue reading “Our take on the Low Emission Solutions Conference – COP 22”

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